He who desires salvation should fix his mind upon the cross of Calvary. It is there that the sinner may behold what sin has done. There he can see the infinite sacrifice that has been made to redeem him from the penalty of the broken law of God. As the transgressor realizes his lost condition, he sees in Christ his only hope of salvation. From the cross he learns precious lessons of the life, the self-denial, the self-sacrifice, the goodness, the mercy and love of the Son of God, who gave himself for us. Calvary portrays the matchless attributes of the divine character. As he looks to the cross, he will hate sin; for he will understand that it was sin that rejected, reproached, denied, scourged, and crucified the Majesty of Heaven. He will love the Father, who gave all Heaven to men in the gift of his only begotten Son. His heart will be filled with an eager desire for the knowledge of God, and for an understanding of the plan of salvation. He who has had a vivid view of the cross, will hate sin, and love righteousness. His doubts will vanish in the clear light reflected from the cross of Calvary.
The plain statements of the word of God declare that “sin is the transgression of the law;” and as the sinner realizes his attitude toward God, if he is truly repentant he will hasten to leave the black banner of the prince of rebellion, and will take his stand under the blood-stained banner of the Prince Emmanuel. He will receive the divine illumination, and will approve the things that are excellent. He will see that Christ is the propitiation for his sin; not that sin might become a virtue, but that it might become exceedingly sinful. He will cease to transgress the divine law, and will take his stand with those who are loyal to the God of Heaven.
The word of God will be read with a humble and teachable spirit by him who is seeking for its hidden treasures of wisdom and truth. As men seek to come into harmony with God, they will find that the offense of the cross has not ceased. As the sinner yields obedience to all the requirements of God, he will find that principalities, and powers, and wicked spirits in high places, are arrayed against him. But the follower of Christ cannot avoid shame and reproach. He cannot go with the multitude of them that do evil, who make void the law of God by their tradition. His eyes must be fixed upon the cross where Jesus died that humanity might be elevated and ennobled, and re-instated in the favor of the heavenly Father. He must follow Him whose righteousness shall be imputed unto all that are faithful and obedient.
Through the perfect obedience of the Son of God, through the merits of his blood, and the power of his intercession, man may become a partaker of the divine nature, and escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust. He may again be brought into the favor of God,—not while in willful transgression, not while trampling upon the great moral standard of righteousness, but by obedience to the precepts of God’s law, through faith in his Son.
The cross of Calvary tells how Christ has magnified the law and made it honorable. It required the infinite merits of his blood to make an atonement for those who receive his love, and follow in his footsteps. Man may obtain pardon and peace only through Him who has loved us, and who will wash us from our sins in his own blood. Those who have been convinced of sin before the law, and have exercised repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, cease to make void the law of God. Although the whole world were arrayed against them, they could but vindicate its righteousness, and fulfill its obligations.
We could never have known the value of Christ, except through an understanding of the exalted claims of the law of Jehovah. We could never have appreciated the depth of the pit from which Christ has rescued us, except through a comprehension of the excellence of the precepts of truth. Never could we have understood the depth of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, unless we could have beheld the marvelous character of the law of Heaven and earth. In the light of that holy law, the sinner sees the Redeemer as he is,—full of mercy, compassion, goodness, and love; and by looking to Jesus, and by contemplating his matchless love to such a sinner as himself, his heart is filled with gratitude and heavenly peace.
As the sinner grasps the promises of God by faith, a blessed confidence comes into his soul, and he receives the illumination of the Spirit of God. A contemplation of the cross of Christ on Calvary, enables the mind to form correct ideas of the plan of redemption. Those who do this will have a better appreciation of what the sinner must become in character and life if he would be accounted worthy of eternal life. The law of God will stand out in clear distinctness before the mind’s eye.
Although the law of God is of a holy and unchangeable character, the adversary of God and man, the first great rebel who transgressed its precepts in Heaven, has led men in all ages to war against God. Through all manner of deceptions he has gathered them under the black banner of rebellion. But Jesus came to our world to bring to men moral power to resist the devices of Satan, and to become loyal subjects to the God of Heaven. As the sinner sees that sin is the transgression of the law, and that the law is the foundation of God’s government in Heaven and in earth, he makes haste to place his feet in the path of righteousness, that he may be without offense till the day of Christ.
Those who seek, by every effort possible, to make void the law of God, act contrary to their convictions, and use arguments that have no force, because “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” But the humble, honest, sincere soul will approve the things that are excellent, notwithstanding the fact that by so doing he will have to become a partaker with Christ of his sufferings. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, the obedient child of God will manifest to the world that he is vitally connected with Christ, the living vine.
The word of truth declares that “by their fruits ye shall know them.” In order to test the character of every man’s fruits, it is necessary to have a standard. God has provided that standard for us in the precepts of his law, and there is nothing else by which to try men’s characters and doctrines. Says the prophet, “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” The world has been following the prince of darkness; but those who desire to follow Christ, will have to come out from the world, and be separate from its follies and fashions. “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.”
Nothing in the line of fables can satisfy a soul that is longing for Bible truth, and who feels that eternal interests are at stake. A plausible supposition will not do, nor can an assertion be found sufficient to quiet an aroused conscience. The earnest seeker for truth must have a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” He does not want to approve of unrighteousness, but of things that are excellent. He is determined not to rest his hope of salvation on anything that is of a doubtful nature. He must have the assurance of the word of God as to whether he is a rebel to his law, or loyal to his rules of government. Ingenious, fine-spun theories, and arguments, that seek to prove that God’s law is of no further force, do not satisfy a soul tortured with conviction of sin. He cannot rest in suspense. He thinks, “Suppose that the law of God does hold its claims upon every human being as it did upon Adam in Eden, and I should receive these ingenious theories, and be found on the side of the great rebel at last. Then I would be a lost soul, and would justly share the fate of the transgressor.” Groaning under the load of sin, he cries out, “Am I God’s friend, or his foe? As he contemplates the cross of Calvary, the true light shines to him. He sees, in the plan of salvation, that the death of Christ is an unanswerable argument as to the immutable character of the law. The law of God is as unchangeable as its author; and because not one precept could be changed or altered to meet man in his fallen condition, the Son of God had to die, the just for the unjust. He bore the penalty of man’s disobedience, that man might be re-instated in the favor of God, and by a life of humble obedience might form such a character as would be accounted worthy of a place in the kingdom of God.
As these truths flash upon the mind of the sinner, a moral revolution takes place. He realizes that the testimony of the word and the Spirit agree; and doubt is swept away. He can rejoice in Christ as his living Saviour, his substitute, his surety, his strength and righteousness. The day-star has arisen in his heart. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory; and with John, the language of the soul is, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” He has a foundation for his faith. It is Christ, the Rock of Ages. He dares to love him, for the light reflected from the cross of Calvary reveals his Saviour to his soul, as “the chiefest among ten thousand,” and the one “altogether lovely.”1The Signs of the Times, July 6, 1888
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||The Signs of the Times, July 6, 1888|